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Syracuse, City of Legends: A Glory of Sicily Hardcover – 30 Mar 2010
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About the Author
Jeremy Dummett read history at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he became interested in the history and culture of Italy. His professional career took him to Athens and Milan, where he lived and worked for twelve years. Now retired, he is a frequent visitor to Sicily.
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Reading Syracuse, City of Legends before you go to Sicily will deepen and enrich your experience of the island, open your eyes to aspects of it you might not otherwise have understood and give you a sense of connection to Siracusa that can't be gained from a mere travel guide.
I have read many books about Syracuse, and I enjoyed this one; it is certainly more than a traveler's guide. I would like to add to Mr. Dummett's suggested reading list, however. He mentions Mary Renault's The Mask of Apollo, but not Peter Vansittart's A Choice of Murder or Tom Holt's The Walled Orchard, both of which are extremely well-written. The only negative thing I have to say is that his use of commas is a bit disconcerting, in that it sometimes misplaces modifiers so that I had to reread sentences. I know that Americans and Brits tend to use commas differently, but here's a case where I don't think our difference is just a matter of style; I really think that American usage makes for a smoother read.
The book sheds light on many aspects not only of the city (which I am planning to visit on the strength of reading this), but also of the whole island. Understanding the evolution of Syracuse and Sicily, seeing it in its historical context, will allow me to know and appreciate what I am looking at. It will also help me to feel more at home and part of the scene rather than being just a tourist.
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